Toss Gascoigne

Visiting Scholar
Australian National Centre for the Public Awareness of Science, ANU

Toss Gascoigne has a humanities and social sciences background, and has worked in the natural sciences for the last 25 years.

He wrestles daily with the challenge of persuading people to care enough about science that they will fund it or support or adopt it.  Could drama be the means?

Most plays with science themes fail, either because they over-simplify the science, or the dilemma they face lacks drama, or because the scientists are not very interesting people.

C.P. Snow had many roles (scientist, novelist, politician) and his ‘Two Cultures’ raises an issue with great human tension: the inability of people trained in the humanities to talk with scientists.

The dilemma Snow presents has never been resolved, and some claim it as the starting point for the need for an intermediary to link the two sides.  Was this the start of science communication?

Toss combines his playwright activities with journal articles on subjects ranging from ‘Is science communication a discipline?’, to studies on the attitude of scientists to the media, on the way journalists regard scientists, and on the history of science communication in Australia.

He also runs works training scientists in communication activities, and finds this regular contact with working science both inspiring and a source of character and dialogue.  He is a Visiting Scholar at ANU’s CPAS.

Mr Toss Gascoigne